Chelmsford, Ma. - Mercury Computer Systems, Inc. has just unveiled the
third member of its Cell Broadband Engine (BE) based family of embedded
computers claiming a throughput of 200 GFLOPS. It is based on an
architecture originally developed by IBM,
Sony and Toshiba.
"The Cell BE processor was originally designed for the volume home
entertainment market, but its architecture of nine heterogeneous
cores is well-suited to the type of distributed, real-time processing
will power tomorrow's digital battlefield," said Craig Lund, Chief
Technology Officer, Mercury Computer Systems, Inc. "At 200 GFLOPS, the
Cell BE processor is an order-of-magnitude higher in performance than
other processors. In defense computing, the availability of the Cell BE
processor is an industry milestone akin to the introduction of AltiVec
into the PowerPC architecture."
In a mechanical prototype in a COTS-deployable ATR chassis about the
size of a toaster, the company claims that the new PowerBlock 200 is
equivalent to, or exceeds, the performance of twelve to twenty PowerPCs
or 45 Intel Pentium 4 processors.
The company is targeting the system at net-centric warfare systems
where it is increasingly necessary to provide soldiers with
transportable computer resources capable of accessing and controlling
of vast arrays of deployed sensors in real time.
Environments in which the system would be deployed include tanks,
armored personnel carriers and Humvees, where high levels of processing
density are required, but which can stand up to the harsh environmental
conditions of the battlefield.
The PowerBlock 200 is also being targeted at other important
applications such as aided target recognition, tracking, geo-location
mapping, terrain rendering, video processing, image enhancement,
extraction, and communications processing.
The PowerBlock 200 uses a 1/2 ATR Long Tall chassis designed for
applications in the harshest environments on land, sea, and in the air.
contains a single Cell BE processor and has Gigabit Ethernet, Fibre
Channel, RS-232 and GPIO front panel interfaces. Other I/O options are
available via open-standard mezzanine card expansion sites.
The entire toaster-sized chassis will consume less than 400 watts
and support a self-contained cooling infrastructure that will conduct
heat to the chassis walls.
Lund said customers interested in deploying the PowerBlock 200 can
start migrating applications immediately using Mercury's Cell Technology Evaluation System (CTES),
which recently started shipping to customers.
A number of documents
are available for download with details on the Cell architecture,
tools and building blocks.